FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 9 Arkansas scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete a three-game Southeastern Conference sweep of No. 17 Florida, 10-7, on Sunday afternoon in front of 7,487 fans at Baum Stadium.
Travis Hill (2-1) recorded the final five outs of the game in succession to get his second win of the season out of the bullpen. Hill came on with one out in the top of the eighth inning and runners on first and third base. He promptly got Cole Figueroa to fly out to left field and Casey Coon came up throwing with a perfect strike to Brian Walker to nail Clayton Pisani at the plate and to end the inning.
The Hogs quickly got to work in the bottom half of the eighth inning as Tim Smalling drew a walk and was pinch ran for by Stephen Robison. Jake Dugger then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and the catcher threw it away putting runners on second and third base with nobody out.
Sean Jones was then intentionally walked to load the bases for the Razorbacks’ leading hitter Logan Forsythe. He ripped the first pitch deep to center field but the Gators’ centerfielder Matt den Dekker never saw the ball. den Dekker wandered toward left-center field as the ball dropped at the warning track just to the right of dead-center field. The double scored three runs and put the Hogs on top to stay at 9-7.
Forsythe then moved to third base on a wild pitch and Jeff Nutt followed with a sacrifice fly to deep left field for UA’s 10th and final run of the game.
Forsythe once again paced Arkansas with a career-high four hits and a career-high six RBI. He has hit in all 15 SEC games this season and 31 of his last 34 games overall. He has raised his overall batting average to .368, while upping his SEC average to .406.
The win runs the Razorbacks’ winning streak to five games and their overall record to 29-10. The Hogs also took a two-game lead in the SEC West with an 11-4 record at the halfway point of the conference season.
Florida opened the sixth with back-to-back singles to chase UA starter Jess Todd from the game and things just got worse from there as the Gators put up six runs on five hits to take the 6-4 lead.
The Razorbacks would tie things up in the bottom of the seventh inning on Danny Hamblin’s two-run home run to left-center field. It was Hamblin’s seventh and eighth RBI of the series and his 11th home run of the season.
Hamblin finished the weekend with a .462 batting average, two home runs and eight RBI. He posted a .923 slugging percentage and a .429 on-base percentage.
The Gators answered back in the top of the eighth inning with a home run into the Hogs’ bullpen by the left-fielder Austin Pride, giving UF a 7-6 lead.
Bryan Augenstein started and gave the Gators 6.2-strong innings before exiting in the seventh with the bases loaded. He surrendered nine hits and allowed six runs – all earned – with four walks and four strikeouts.
Steven Porter (0-3) came on in relief and ended up taking the loss after allowing three runs on no hits in one-third of an inning. Josh Edmondson threw the final inning for UF, giving up a run on two hits.
Walker cranked his fifth home run of the season to get the Hogs on the scoreboard in the second inning with two outs. Walker crushed a 2-1 fastball over the pine trees in right-center field between the scoreboard and the center-field batter’s eye.
The Razorbacks continued the two-out rally with Smalling getting hit by a pitch, a Jake Dugger single to center field and a walk to Jones to load the bases. Forsythe then delivered a two-RBI single up the middle to extend the UA lead to 3-0.
Another two-out hit and RBI scored the Razorbacks’ fourth run of the game on Forsythe’s double into the right-center field gap. It scored Sean Jones from first base, who reach on a single through the right side of the infield.
The Hogs first six runs on Sunday came with two outs in the game. Arkansas finished the weekend with a .412 batting average with two outs and 14 RBI. The Razorbacks also hit an impressive .424 with runners in scoring position for the weekend and .344 overall.
Todd went five innings for the Razorbacks but didn’t get the decision after allowing two runs on four hits. He did strikeout a career-high 10 while also walking a career-high four.
The Razorbacks embark on a four-game road trip next week beginning with a 6 p.m. game Wednesday at Missouri State. Arkansas then travels to Georgia for a three-game SEC series with the Bulldogs. The Friday night game in Athens will be televised on Cox Sports Television (channel 119 in NW Arkansas).